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Saturday, 28 October, 2000, 19:06 GMT 20:06 UK
Bath put boot into Munster
Mike Mullins
Mike Mullins of Munster charges forward against Bath
Bath 18-5 Munster

Bath clung on to European survival as they took Munster's 100 per cent Heineken Cup record at a windswept Recreation Ground on Saturday night.

But a quarter-final place could still prove beyond the 1998 European champions as Munster kept them try-less for a second successive Pool Four weekend.

Try counts will ultimately separate teams level on points, and Bath have so far managed just three touchdowns in four matches.

After defeats against Newport and Munster though, victory was the all-important scenario, and it was duly delivered by substitute scrum-half Jon Preston.

New Zealand All Black Preston kicked four penalties after replacing the injured Gareth Cooper a minute before half-time.

England full-back Matt Perry had already booted Bath into a 6-0 lead by the time Preston appeared, and their combined accuracy silenced Munster's sizeable travelling support.

Jon Preston
Jon Preston kicked four penalties

The visitors would have had even more fans among a capacity 8,200 crowd had bad weather not caused three ferries from Ireland to be cancelled this morning.

Munster flanker David Wallace scored the solitary try of an error-strewn encounter, but they never recovered from losing captain Mick Galwey through a knee injury after just 27 minutes.

Last season's Heineken Cup runners up had won their opening three Group games, yet fly-half Ronan O'Gara missed four kicks at goal, blowing a possible 11 points which would have made Bath's task far tougher.

Serious injury

Munster didn't help their cause when prop Peter Clohessy was sin-binned in the second half, and despite them throwing everything into attack during the closing minutes, Bath held out.

However, the home side's spirited defending may have come at a cost.

Centre and former England captain Phil de Glanville needed treatment on the pitch after the final whistle, and was gingerly helped away nursing what appeared to be a serious shoulder injury.

Bath still have it all to do in Europe, but victory in their remaining two matches against Castres and Newport when the tournament resumes next January could put them in the quarter final picture.

Munster, despite Saturday night's loss should still finish top of Pool Four, given that their remaining fixtures are against the same opponents, yet Bath provided some overdue success for England's beleaguered Heineken Cup challenge.

Mike Mullins grabs Munster's Mike Tindall
Mike Mullins grabs Munster's Mike Tindall

None of England's six representatives could manage a win between them last weekend, and with Saracens, Northampton and Gloucester having already lost this time around, the English bid for European glory is fading fast.

Mike Catt made a solid return for Bath after seven weeks out injured, providing some all-important crucial touches, but it wasn't a night for pretty rugby, or about the percentage game.

Perry struck two penalties in the opening 15 minutes, and as O'Gara struggled desperately to find the target, Preston slotted his first goal to give Bath a 9-0 interval lead.

Wallace ploughed over for a try on 44 minutes, but that score galvanised the Bath defence and the remainder of proceedings belonged to Preston as he slotted three further penalties during an eight-minute spell in the third quarter.

Munster finished strongly, yet presented with such difficult conditions, a 13-point deficit was always going to prove too much.

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See also:

27 Oct 00 |  Heineken Cup
Catt hopes to boost Bath
21 Oct 00 |  Heineken Cup
Munster maintain unbeaten start
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